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  >  Estate Administration   >  Considerations When Leaving Estates to Non-U.S. Citizen Beneficiaries – Part 3

Considerations When Leaving Estates to Non-U.S. Citizen Beneficiaries – Part 3

In my last 2 weeks’ blog posts I have been discussing the issues related to leaving your assets to beneficiaries who are not U.S. citizens.  This week I want to cover a couple of recent scenarios in our office.  One involved a decedent who was a U.S. citizen, died without a will and left a husband and minor son in Africa and a daughter in the U.S.  To further complicate the matter, the husband also had children not of his relationship with his wife.

Under New Jersey intestacy laws, because the husband had other children, he is to receive only a part of the estate, not all of it.  The balance goes to the decedent’s children.  Adding to this complication is the fact that the son is a minor so cannot legally receive his share.  The share of a minor typically is held in trust or possibly deposited with the Surrogate until he reaches age 18.  Being a foreign national further complicates and delays the process.

In another case, the decedent had a will which left part of her estate to her sibling, a resident of Hungary.  The sibling survived the decedent but then died before receiving his distribution.  The sibling had no will.  Not knowing how the estate administration process there works or who are the rightful heirs of the sibling’s estate, we needed to work with an attorney familiar with Hungarian estate law and procedure to insure the proper distribution and obtain the necessary signatures before disbursing estate proceeds.

Ultimately, we were able to identify that the wife and children were entitled to a share of the sibling’s estate and the local attorney arranged for them to approve our accounting and sign the necessary releases before final disbursement.